JOHN 12: WHO HAS BELIEVED?
Some people think that believing in the Creator God’s epic storyline is a weakness fit for women and children. No serious thinker could see sense in giving it a second thought. However, I’ve found that, quite different to fairy tales, HIStory is a complex multi-layered tapestry that (if you sit long enough to study the artwork involved) it reveals a multipart global Master Plan that’s continuing to unfold as we speak.
Today’s chapter opens up on a Saturday, probably in the year 28AD. The very fact that we still have a detailed record (translated in thousands of languages) of conversations that occurred 1,990 years ago is utterly mind-blowing. If this isn’t “divine intervention” (when nothing of the ancient past has survived in such detail), then I don’t know what is!
The story of the Alabaster Jar of expensive perfume that Mary (apparently) wasted on Jesus is covered in my 01 April: The Final Countdown notes. What the perfume is, how expensive it was, and why Jesus said that it had been kept for His burial can be followed in my 01 April notes, but what I find interesting here, in today’s chapter, is the reference to Judas. [v4-6]
No-one knows the heritage lines of Jesus’ 12 disciples. Being Jews, they will have come from the 12 tribes of Israel. So then, if Judas was a Levite, it would have made sense that he was given responsibility over the offering bag – especially when Matthew the tax collector would have been more suited to the role with his financial accounting background. If Judas helped himself to what was in it, as a priest he could have justified his right to do so. When he betrayed Jesus that week but later come to the chief priests and elders to confess to breaking the Law, they said: “What is that to us? … That’s your responsibility.”[a] Indicating again that, as a Levite, Judas would have to administer the punishment of the Law. At that, he returned the blood money and “did the deed” – he “executed” himself, according to the Law. If Judas was the Levite among the 12, then the Creator God was right, even about Judas when He said 400 years earlier: “It is you priests who show contempt for My Name.”[b]
Again, I’ve covered the story of The Triumphant Entry – Palm Sunday [v12-18] – in my 27 March: Assuming Authority notes. Suffice to say here, the contempt for Jesus had grown to fever pitch as many uneducated nobodies were believing in Him. In their anger the highly qualified spiritual leaders of the day unwittingly spoke prophetically when they said, “You see that we are not doing any good; look, the whole world has gone after Him.” [v19]
Two millenniums after those words left their mouths, Believers in Jesus represent the largest Faith group on earth with almost 1/3 of the worlds population from every nation represented… just as Father God had promised from the beginning.[c]
What happens next in the chapter can only be understood if you know that Jesus life on earth has come to an end. John records in detail a moment when some Greeks come, but then the storyline seems to run off to totally ignore them. [v20-36] But if you’ve read the book of Nehemiah and how foreigners were used to “do the dirty work”, you’ll understand why Jesus immediately says “The hour has come…” [v23] Nothing is said of these Greeks but the story behind the story indicates that it was the line over which the religious leaders had final stepped. They’d spoken about how to stop Jesus on a number of occasions but thinking and speaking aren’t acting. Now it’s very likely that they’d put into action their plan.
It’s never easy to attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe. As for divine intervention in HIStory, it’s difficult explaining Jesus’ relationship to His Father. [v26] Some have said that the God of Creation is like H²O. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are like water, ice and steam – all H²O (one in substance) and yet all different in their own right. I wonder now if the Creator God has given us clues about Himself all along.
When the Creator speaks throughout HIStory about His Name, for example, what if His Name is actually embedded inside a person?[d] If God’s Name is within a person, then when I read today’s chapter again, I can see His Name personified and in a completely different light:
“‘Father, glorify your Name (and therefore the one who carries Your Name within himself)!’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it (in the past, along with the One who carries My Name within Him), and will glorify it again (and therefore I’ll glorify the One who carries My Name within Himself).’” [v28]
So now the puzzle pieces from centuries past come together (if the Creator has indeed put His Name inside a person, just as He told Moses that He did) then everywhere the words “My Name” are mentioned is very likely to relate to a person who is also going by His Name. All along there’s been a second person working with Father God…
“Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name…”[e] “It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My Holy Name…”[f] “‘If I am a Father, where is the honour due me? If I am a Master, where is the respect due me?’ says the Lord Almighty. It is you priests who show contempt for My Name. But you ask: ‘How have we shown contempt for Your Name?’… ‘My Name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to Me, because My Name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord Almighty.”[g]
It would be pretty risky for the Creator God to put His Name inside someone else because that person could fail Him and shame His name. But the Creator God’s epic storyline adds to it. First, HIStory used other words like “hand” and “arm” but then the unthinkable, Immanuel: God with Us.[h] That being so, He’s the very substance of God – a limb, an extension, an appendage. But if we’re all created in God’s image to be like Him[i], then it isn’t at all unreasonable for Jesus to say, “He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me” [v45] We could all say this, except that none of us have achieved what we were designed to achieve. Jesus is the only one in history to be described as the exact representation of the Almighty.[j]
Things haven’t changed in 1,500+ years since the days of Moses. “I did not speak on My own initiative,” Jesus said, “but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” [v49] Unlike others in history, Jesus never pointed to Himself as the ultimate goal. But the Kingdom of Heaven and restoring us to our Maker, Father God was always the plan. “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me.” [v45] My job today is simple: I just need to believe in the light while I have the light, so that I may become a child of the God who first said “Let there be Light”. [v36]
CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”
[a] Matthew 27:3-5
[b] Malachi 1:6
[c] Genesis 12:3; 28:14 and Isaiah 25:6
[d] Exodus 23:21
[e] Jeremiah 7:12
[f] Ezekiel 36:22
[g] Malachi 1:6&11
[h] Isaiah 7:14; 8:8 and 9:6-7
[i] Genesis 1:26-27
[j] Hebrews 1:3